Washington 5 – Buffalo 3
Sunday, March 17, 2013
WASHINGTON – There are 60 minutes in an NHL game, but for the Buffalo Sabres, Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals was ultimately decided during a 43-second lapse in the second period.
Washington’s Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson scored less than a minute apart in the middle period, as the Sabres continued their recent road woes with a 5-3 loss to the Capitals at the Verizon Center. Cody Hodgson scored twice for Buffalo, while Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis each chipped in a pair of assists. Brian Flynn also scored for Buffalo, his third goal in eight games since being recalled from Rochester.
The Sabres are now 0-3-2 in their last five road games, and haven’t won a game away from First Niagara Center since sweeping Tampa Bay and Florida on February 26/28. Buffalo is now 5-9-2 on the road this season, and 10-15-4 (24 pts.) overall. Washington improves to 12-15-1 (25 pts.), and moved one point ahead of the Sabres for 13th spot in the Eastern Conference.
Defenseman Mark Pysyk made his NHL debut for Buffalo, and played 14:55 during his third game in the last three days. The 21-year-old Pysyk was recalled from Rochester on Sunday morning, after having played the previous two nights with the Amerks. Pysyk, Buffalo’s first-round selection in the 2010 Entry Draft, recorded one shot on goal along with two blocked shots and a takeaway.
The ice was barely dry before Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals a very early 1-0 lead. After a faceoff win by Nicklas Backstrom to the left of Ryan Miller, the Washington fired a quick wrister past the Sabres netminder at the 19 second mark. In a very lackluster period of play, shots were even at five apiece.
Not to be outdone by Ovechkin’s early first period goal, Cody Hodgson got the Sabres on the board just 12 seconds into second, going five-hole on Braden Holtby with a 48-foot wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle for his 11th of the season. The tie was short-lived as Troy Brouwer scored on the power play at 5:06 to regain the Washington lead. The Capitals upped their lead to 4-1 midway through the period on goals from Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson just 43 seconds apart. Sabres rookie Brian Flynn buried his third of the season at 13:27 to cut the lead in half at 4-2. Buffalo outshot the Capitals 17-10 in the second for a two-period lead of 22-15.
Hodgson narrowed the gap at the 5:30 mark on the power play, banging home the rebound in front for his second goal of the night to make it 4-3. But Mathieu Perreault would put Washington back on top by two with some slick stickhandling in the slot to make it 5-3 at 15:05. Washington outshot Buffalo 10-8 in the period, but the Sabres finished the night with a 30-25 advantage.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Cody Hodgson's two-goal game was the fourth of his career and second this season. Three of his career-high two-goal outings have come since joining the Sabres last March… Hodgson’s third-period PP goal was Buffalo’s first with the man advantage since March 7 at New Jersey… 142nd game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo leads the series with an 83-43-16 record; 39-23-10 on the road.
Tonight’s game concluded Buffalo’s sixth of nine sets of back-to-back games this season. The Sabres are 3-2-1 in the first game and 1-4-1 in the second. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is as follows: four points (1), three points (1), two points (1), one point (1) and zero points (2).
Mark Pysyk was recalled from Rochester earlier in the day, and made his NHL debut… Andrej Sekera missed the game with an upper body injury and is considered day-to-day. Interim head coach Ron Rolston said Sekera is questionable for Tuesday’s game in Montreal… Patrick Kaleta and John Scott were Buffalo’s healthy scratches.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Jordan Leopold, 23:40
Shots: Drew Stafford, 5
Blocked Shots: Jordan Leopold, 5
Hits: Mike Weber/Steve Ott, 4
Faceoff Wins: Steve Ott, 11
Total Faceoffs: Cody Hodgson, 21 (5-16)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Opponent Scores First: 3-11-1
Trailing after the first period: 0-7-0
Trailing after the second period: 2-11-2
Outshooting an opponent: 2-5-3
Overall: 12/104, 11.5%
Road: 5/52, 9.6%
Overall: 91/116, 78.4%
Road: 59/74, 79.7%
* Tuesday @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
* Thursday vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.
* Saturday @ Montreal, 7 p.m.